To Dorothy Fanny Nevill 12 November 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
Dr. Lindley has told me that he thought that your Ladyship would be willing, if in your power, to assist me.—2 I am preparing for publication a small work “on the various contrivances by which Orchids are fertilised.” I much wish to examine a few more exotic forms, & if you happen to have those which I wish to see, possibly your Ladyship would be so generous as to send me two or three flowers. I am aware that it would be a remote chance that your Ladyship should possess or spare these flowers. I chiefly want any member of the great Tribe of Arethuseæ, which includes the Limodoridæ, Vanillidæ &c.
Mormodes & Cycnoches are especial desiderata, though they would be most difficult to send, as the pollen-masses move or explode when the end of the column is touched. I, also, want much Bonatea, Masdevallia & any Bolbophyllum with its lower lip or Labellum irritable. Indeed any genus with any remarkable peculiarity would be most gratefully received.—
I have much reason to apologise for thus intruding on your Ladyship; & I am far from expecting that your Ladyship will reply to this note, if you cannot assist me.—3 I will only add that for a parcel too large for the post, my quickest address is “C. Darwin care of the Down Postman Bromley Kent”. I find that orchids travel safest in tin boxes or cannisters with a little damp paper.—
With many apologies, I have the honour to remain | Your Ladyships | Obedient servant | Charles Darwin
Writes at Lindley’s suggestion to ask whether DN can send several orchid specimens. Describes his work in preparation for Orchids.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3316,” accessed on 29 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3316